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The rise of John Dillinger from petty criminal (including, unforgiveably, holding up a cinema) via prison and bank robbery with his new convict associates to the accolade of Public Enemy Number One. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
This lean, mean cheapo has all the virtues of economy. Lawrence Tierney is great in his impressive debut, ideally cast as the cold, humourless psychopath. In a little over an hour we get the complete biography, with the bad guy hero gunned down with seven dollars and twenty cents in his pocket, the exact amount with which he began his criminal spree.
The scene transitions are tight and efficient, and the story-telling terse and elliptical, giving us only the significant moments in this brief, violent life. No words are wasted when Pa Otto meets his end.
Dmitri Tiomkin provides his customarily excellent music. The lone wailing horn in the prison scenes captures superbly the despair of the inmates, as indeed does the unyielding regularity of the jail architecture.
Verdict - Less is more in this commendably spare gangster flick.
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